Census report: More 'doubled-up' households impacting economy

More people are living with family members amid high unemployment rates and a slow economy, but while the phenomenon is keeping the poverty rate lower, it has wider negative economic consequences.

September 14, 2011
economy, multigenerational households, housing market, real estate market

More people are living with family amid high unemployment rates and a slow economy, but while the phenomenon is keeping the poverty rate lower, it has wider negative economic consequences, according to the Wall Street Journal’s blog.

The Census Bureau noted a big jump in the number of individuals and families doubling up. Census says 69.2 million, or 30 percent, were doubled-up in 2011, up from 61.7 million adults, or 27.7 percent, in 2007. “Doubled-up” households include at least one person 18 or older who isn’t enrolled in school and isn’t the householder, spouse or cohabiting partner of the householder.

Much of the increase comes from young people, ages 25-34, living with their parents. Some 5.9 million, or 14.2 percent of 25-to-34 year olds, lived with their parents in 2011, up from 4.7 million before the recession.

“These young adults who lived with their parents had an official poverty rate of only 8.4 percent, since the income of their entire family is compared with the poverty threshold,” David Johnson chief of the Housing and Household Economic Statistics Division at the U.S. Census Bureau said. “If their poverty status were determined by their own income, 45.3 percent would have had income falling below the poverty threshold for a single person under age 65.”

Fewer households means fewer consumers for businesses desperate for demand. (You don’t need to buy a new TV if you can just use mom and dad’s.) At the same time, it continues to drag on a housing market that needs to burn off excess supply.

For more information: http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2011/09/13/more-americans-are-doubling-up...

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